How Does College Work?



At Accelerated Pathways, we hear a lot of questions about how college works.

“How many credits are in a bachelor’s degree?”

“How do you transfer credits between colleges?”

“… what’s a credit?”

Never fear, we’re here to help.

For over 10 years, Accelerated Pathways has been helping students craft bachelor’s degrees according to their budgets and life goals. That means we’ve worked with with a lot of colleges.

I mean a lot.

But being so thoroughly familiar with the ins and outs of the college system doesn’t do us any good unless we’re sharing that knowledge with readers like you.

In this post, I’ve gathered every Accelerated Pathways blog post that can help answer the question “how does college work?”

Whether you’re hoping to get started on your scholarship search or just want to know what in the world “PSY 134” means, we’ve got your back. Our goal with this post is to take the confusion out of college.

Happy reading!

Degrees and Credits

How Many Credits Do I Need for a Bachelor’s Degree?

If you’re considering college, it’s important to know how the system works, especially if you’re hoping to transfer colleges at any point. That all starts with knowing how bachelor’s degrees are structured.

What Level of Education Do I Need?

So, how are you to know what level of education you need? Is a high school diploma enough? Is the master’s degree really the new bachelor’s? Do you need a Ph.D. in order to be taken seriously in your field? Let’s figure it out.

What Exactly Are General Education Credits?

Gen Ed, or General Education, are credits that make up an important part of every college degree. In this post, we dive into what they are.

Bachelor’s of Arts vs. Bachelor’s of Science

What is the difference between a BA and a BS, and which one should you choose? In this blog post, one of Accelerated Pathways' Academic Advisors answers this question for good.

Community College

5 Most Expensive Community College Myths

Thinking community college will save you money? It might. But not if you fall for the 5 most expensive community college myths.

How to Not Waste Money on Community College

Community college isn’t guaranteed to save you money. But if you’re savvy about how it works, it miiiiight be an okay option. Here are 8 ways to ensure you’re not throwing your money away on community college.

Dual Credit

Dual Credit: How Much is Too Much?

Dual credit is kind of like kale and Christmas decorations–too much of a good thing is indeed... too much. It is easy to get carried away earning college credits that won’t ultimately apply to your chosen degree. But how many should you take?

AP vs. Dual Enrollment—What’s the Difference?

Advanced Placement courses or dual enrollment are two great options for earning dual credit in high school—but which is better for your student? In this article, we discuss the differences between them to help you answer this question.

Transfer Credit

Why Won’t My Credits Transfer?

Why do so many colleges disagree on what it takes to graduate? The answer is simple. Unfortunately, navigating the process... isn’t.

How to Transfer Colleges Without Losing Credit

It’s absolutely possible to transfer colleges without losing a single credit. These 5 steps will teach you how.

Course Codes 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Course Codes and Transfer Credit

Transfer credit can be an efficient way to save thousands on college... as long as you know those courses will transfer. But how do you know which courses will transfer before taking them? The answer: college course codes.

How to Transfer Community College Credits to University

40% community college students tend to lose most of their credit upon transfer, but you don’t have to be one of them. This post teaches you the steps you can take to ensure your community college credit transfers safely to your bachelor’s degree.

Paying for College

How Do Scholarships Work?

Everything you need to know about scholarships, how to get them, and whether you even need to earn one in the first place.

What is Financial Aid?

What if FAFSA? How does financial aid work? What does "aid" even mean? In this post, one of our very own Admissions Counselors answers these questions and demystifies the term "financial aid" once and for all.

What is a 529 Plan (And Should I Have One)?

What is a 529 savings plan? How does it differ from a prepaid tuition plan? Are these things you should have? And if you do have one, what can you do with it? In this post, we answer all these questions and more.

How Student Loan Debt Ruins Your Life

While you may think getting your degree—no matter what it takes—will set you ahead, student loan debt might actually end up being the ball-and-chain you carry around your neck for decades.

4 Things to Do Before Considering Student Loans

Students often assume student loans will be an inevitable part of their college experience. But they don't have to be. Here are 4 very real, very helpful things you can do to ensure you graduate debt free.

How to Calculate Your Degree’s Return on Investment

Considering your degree's long-term effects on your finances can save you from a life of debt. How can you ensure you're not investing too much money in your degree?

Why is College so Expensive? College’s Sneakiest Expenses and How to Avoid Them

Check out how four perfectly normal decisions (that don’t even seem “that bad”) can send your college costs soaring thousands of dollars higher than you expected.


What Should I Major In?

If you’re stressing about choosing a major, you’re not alone. This free ebook, What Should I Major In, will walk you through every step you need to consider when picking a college major, so you can begin your studies with confidence!

Why Your College Major Doesn’t Matter

Is trying to pick a major stressing you out? Put down the pros and cons list and stop Googling every emphasis, minor, and elective you find. Here’s why your college major doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.

What is STEM?

I’m sure you’ve heard how important STEM is. But do you even know what STEM is? Or why it’s important? Or if it’s right for you? This post will help you answer those questions.

16 Highest Paying Majors (That Aren’t STEM)

Being uninterested in STEM doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be a starving artist. Despite common belief, you can work in the arts, education, or social sciences and earn an above-average salary.

What You Should Know If You’re Considering an Accounting Degree

As an artistic book worm, I was an unlikely accountant for sure. However, by pursuing this most unlikely degree choice, I discovered accountants are more than stern, semi-monastic gurus of great financial mysteries. They're organizers on steroids.

Should I Get a Music Degree?

Like any artistic endeavor, music isn’t a surefire way to secure a comfortable job with status and money to spare. You’re often going to be working twice as hard for half as much, all for your heartfelt love of the chromatic scale. Will a music degree give you the extra edge you need?

What You Should Know About Organizational Leadership

Leadership in its simplest form is beneficial, proactive influence. Even if you’re an entry-level employee at a coffee shop, movie theater, or fast casual restaurant, you can take the initiative and show leadership.

What Every Marketing Major Should Know

I know deciding whether to get a marketing degree or self-teach feels like a huge, scary, life-defining choice with no going back. But that’s not true. Truth is… you might want to do both.

6 Tips Every Communications Major Should Know

Majoring in communications isn’t a cop-out. In fact, it just may be the perfect way to prepare for your future career—as long as you keep these six tips in mind.

English Majors, listen up! Here’s How to Make the Most of Your Degree

Thinking of getting an English degree? Here’s what you’ll need to know to get the most out of your education.

Making the College Choice

Is College the Best Way to Get an Education?

Everyone knows that going to college is simply the best way to set yourself up for success down the road. Or is it? In this post, we delve into this question.

What Every College Dropout Should Know

We all know college isn’t necessarily right for everyone. But before you trade your walk across the stage for a walk out the door, here are four things every college dropout should know.

Should You Go to College?

Going to college is no longer a no-brainer. So before you take out a $30,000 loan for something you may not even need, ask yourself the hard question: should you go to college?

Should I Go to College?

College is important. Especially in today’s society, with so many jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree as a minimum bar to entry. But is it important for you? This can be a challenging question to answer...

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Just send us an email at! We’d love to help you out. (Who knows, your question may just inspire a post that ends up on this list.)


A former student counselor and Accelerated Pathways student, Abigail is now a writer and Accelerated Pathways Content Manger who's passionate about empowering others to achieve their goals. When she’s not hard at work, you can find her reading, baking cupcakes, or singing Broadway songs. Loudly.